By Alex M. Esmero
Let’s get ready to rumble!! The long wait is almost over. Fight night is just 1 day away. Both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have done the weigh in and the final face off. Although Floyd has been noticeably silent, boxing fans are still expecting a positive fight from him. His sudden change of persona have made people wary of the fight. Freddie Roach even commented that Floyd might not show up during fight night.
In a recent interview, Floyd responds by saying that he will bring an exciting fight to the table. That he does not need to do trash talking anymore to promote the fight as the fight sells itself. Floyd who is notably an outspoken or bullish person has been projecting a silent demeanor since the first Face Off, which some people think as a sign of weakness and that he feels subdued. However, this may just be a sign of maturity for Floyd, or a strategy, or maybe a result of the attacks done to him by some reporters concerning his 7 domestic abuse charges. Or it he may already be fed up with his bad boy. I myself was wandering what could have caused the sudden change of persona in Floyd Mayweather.
A recent article by an ESPN reporter revealed that their reporter confronted Mayweather in an interview about his domestic abuse and queried him as to why he is allowed to get involved in a high profile boxing match like this and not banned from boxing. Despite the personality attacks against him, it seem Floyd is still optimistic of bringing an “A” game come May 2nd.
What is at stake in this fight? What’s at stake are the WBC, WBA and WBO welterweight titles and the title “Best Pound for Pound boxer of this generation”.
Now, there are also some interesting questions which we want answered about Mayweather and Pacquiao which can only be answered after the fight? Who has the faster hand speed? Who has a more effective footwork. Will Floyd be able to use his shoulder roll against Pacquiao? Will there be a knockdown, or a knockout? How will Floyd be able to defend against Pacman’s aggression? These are some of the questions we are excited about.
Come fight night on May 2nd (which is tomorrow), the talk is over. We will witness for ourselves the “Fight of the Century” which we all have been longing for almost 6 years. We will feel the excitement of the fight night ceremonies. We will be able to see on Pay per View the locker room preparations of each boxer, the ring entrance marches and songs, the ring announcement, the anthems, and then the long awaited “Clash of the Titans”.
is expected that both pugilist will give their best. Boxing greats and pundits have made their predictions and boxing fans have made their bets. Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr, and Bernard Hopkins are rooting for Mayweather to win. While Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Muhammad Ali & Evander Holyfield are leaning towards Pacquiao’s side.
As to the boxing pundits and trainers, Stephen Smith and Max Kellerman are rooting for Mayweather to win. And Skip Bayless of ESPN and Teddy Atlas are rooting for Pacquiao.
Now, what are the things that needs to happen for Pacquiao and Mayweather to win? These are my thoughts.
For Pacquiao to win. He was to win the first 3 rounds by starting early in his attack. He needs to step on the gas as early as round 1 which is normally a calculating round (where you gauge distance, gauge punch speed & strength). However since Pacquiao have already done a prior study of Mayweather’s moves in the past 6 years, it is possible that he has calibrated in his mind the moves he need to make against Mayweather and can start straightaway his plan of attack.
If Pacquiao is already ahead in the first 3 rounds (or the most 6 rounds), Mayweather will try to rally from behind and become the aggressor. We know that Mayweather is not comfortable being the aggressor as he is a typical counter-puncher. The idea in these strategy is, if Floyd becomes the aggressor he will be exposed to Pacquiao’s power punches, which can result in a knockout or at least a knockdown. Also, the tempo of the fight will go in Pacquiao’s direction.
Pacquiao has to do feints. He needs to control his offensive by retracting after a quick punch. This can be done through his ability to jump out of his punch by using his foot, and he is fast enough to do that. Pacquiao’s lack in reach is compensated by his great footwork. Pacquiao also has the ability to do a quick parry and punch combination. It is expected that Pacquiao’s secret weapon which is his right hook (or his right hand butterfly punch) will be the surprise treat as it can win him the fight.
Pacman needs to put a relentless pressure on Mayweather. He needs to do a good calculation of Mayweather’s distance to be able to hit him with more accuracy as Floyd is an excellent defensive fighter who can avoid punches with the movement of his head while simultaneously punching with his right. He should from time to time jab Floyd in the body particularly in the sternum (or chest) to make Floyd hold back.
Pacman needs to remember that Mayweather always keeps his right hand cocked during hugs & skirmishes. Mayweather’s another trademark move is his cobra move where he somewhat rotates his head and body to confuse his opponent and then executes a bullet punch. Pacman needs to have a good gauge of Mayweather’s five inch reach advantage. Pacquiao should not get frustrated whenever he misses as Floyd is elusive and has a great defensive tactic.
I think we will see the old violent aggressor in Manny Pacquiao in this fight who will be in attack mode in all 12 rounds. Pacquiao is in excellent physical condition in this fight, more than in the past. He conquered mountains for 2 months in his jogging exercises. He did more mitts training and shadow boxing. He did extra conditioning exercises and did new types of workouts. He watched fight tapes and have developed a fight plan with trainer Freddie Roach. He had more sparring sessions which are all tailor made to Floyd’s style. And lastly he seems more mentally and spiritually prepared in this fight.
Now what can we expect to see from Pacquiao in this fight?
Here are the likely ones. He will execute a lot of combination punches, in and out movement, a lot of angle or side to side movements while simultaneously punching. He will trap Floyd and will throw punches in bunches. The Pacquiao in this fight is expected to be a wise Pacquiao as he already learned from his mistakes against Marquez. He needs to be extra alert and methodical in his moves to avoid a power counter punch from Floyd as it can result in an unexpected knockdown.
Floyd is not known to possess a knockout punch but bad things can happen so Pacman needs to be cautious. He needs to parry Floyd’s jabs to reduce his scoring power. And being a southpaw, Pacquiao’s left hand is in line with Mayweather’s jaw and needs to strike in every opening especially if Floyd does his famous shoulder roll. Pacman can also have some success with his left if he throws flurries on Floyd’s high guard.
It is important that Pacquiao needs to take his chances and aim for a knockout as it is a sure winner. He possess that power as exhibited in his fight with Hatton. He has to throw a lot of punches like 100 punches or more per round, where each round is 3 minutes long (with 1 minute spent during timeouts).
Pacquiao’s endurance is a big factor. This was revealed by Bradley previously as Pacman still wears him down despite his tough stamina training. Pacman will likely gas out Mayweather.
On the otherhand, for Mayweather to win, he needs to aim for a knockout in the early rounds as Pacquiao will most likely outscore him if the fight goes to the distance. He needs to produce a lot more punching stats and power to win the fight. He needs to time his counter punching effectively to be able to strike with more effective blows. Guerrero said “Mayweather’s reaction time is amazing. He sees what you are about to throw and is out of there before you can punch.”. This is what Floyd need to take advantage over Pacquiao.
Legendary boxer Bernard Hopkins (who is rooting for Floyd) claimed that if Mayweather gets past the first 6 rounds, the undefeated American fighter can certainly beat the Filipino. Hopkins sees that Pacquiao will try to devastate Mayweather with his trademark boxing style early. Mayweather has proven in some of his past fights that he can easily make adjustments. According to Hopkins, it is going to be an easy fight for Mayweather if he can adjust as far as distance is concerned. Mayweather will not only have to adjust his striking distance but he should also be able to prevent a threat when Pacquiao rushes at him. Hopkins also believes Mayweather should trade more punches with Pacquiao to win.
At last, it is now just 24 hours away and our dream fight has come into fruition